Media pundits in BC do not like being told what to do. Nor do they appreciate any form of criticism. They are, as some put it, outside the realm of accountability. They and they alone decide what is a news story, and what the people of British Columbia can and cannot speak about.
Or so they think. The internet changes that. It allows for “dissenters” to have a voice. To advance their point of view.
The Information & Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia, Elizabeth Denham, wrote a letter stating that the Province of British Columbia was not meeting “international standards” when it comes to access to information.
The reason why? Section 22:1 which names a specific topic is the reason why.
It bans the release of any information on the topic of abortion. Other than basic statistics, all other info is forbidden.
In day to day reality, it means if I ask the Ministry of Health for statistics on complicate rates for abortion, that information is forbidden. Is your local hospital botching lots of abortions? You will never know.
On any other topic, the media would be outraged. But because it’s abortion….well….
For BC Media pundits, it means their commitment to true “access to information” is selective. It means they will entertain the curtailment of access to information rights on certain topics they just don’t want to have to report on.
But how can you be selective when it comes to “rights” If government is allowed to ban one complete subject, what other subjects will they be allowed to ban?
It is indeed a slippery slope, that says as much about the real commitment to access to information rights that the media has, as it says about the government’s commitment to to open government and transparency.
Remember you read about that here first.